Re-Zoning Putnam County Schools, TN Easily Accomplished with Routing Software
Prior to purchasing Transfinder’s routing software, Terry was using a manual method to route his school buses. Anticipating that the School Board was establishing a building program for the future because of the rapid growth the county was experiencing, Terry wanted a software system to help him manage his transportation and assist in future planning, which included re-zoning the schools.
In January 2009, Terry purchased Routefinder Pro. During the school year, he and his team worked on becoming acquainted with the software. They verified their student information in the system and created their bus routes and stops on the maps. By mid-year he was prepared to begin re-zoning and was ready for implementation in the fall.
Today the buses for Putnam County Schools run on a one-tier system, transporting all the students at the same time. To manage this, each bus is assigned a zone. The zones are areas created around each school and are based on the capacity of the school and the number of students who live closest and would fill the school to its capacity. Students who live in that zone are eligible to ride the bus assigned to it, or if they choose to attend a different school, a parent or guardian must drive them there.
Terry discovered that he could not have managed the project without Routefinder Pro and its visual representations. “When you re-zone a school, you want to make sure you don’t have students on one side of the street riding the bus to a different school than students on the other side of the street, so having a visual of where everyone lives is an asset.” The purpose of re-zoning was not only to save money, but also to plan for the county’s growth.
With Routefinder Pro, he could see which areas in the county were growing and he was able to strategically plan for that growth by projecting more schools in that area. He could also see an area’s terrain and locate the best locations for schools.
Data accumulated with Routefinder Pro have played an enormous role in planning for the future building program, and the district found the data as essential for the School Board as it is for the transportation department. According to Terry, “All of the potentials with the program have yet to be tapped. As we become more familiar with this robust system the better equipped we are to anticipate the future and what we need to do to be prepared as our county and needs change.”
In March 2010 Terry purchased Infofinder le and Infofinder i. These systems aided tremendously in the implementation of the district’s re-zoning efforts. Parents have acknowledged the benefit of going to a link on the school website to see what schools and what stops serve their homes. For the transportation department, Infofinder i has dramatically decreased the number of calls to the office.
For district personnel, Infofinder le has been helpful for them to be able to look up students in the system to see if they are eligible for transportation. Communication and documentation has also improved with Infofinder le for field trip requests and approvals, so all parties involved are appropriately notified and documentation is maintained.